Oiling the Wheels
(Sunday 24th July, Puerto Portals) – As Puerto Portals Marina celebrates its 30th anniversary year the TP52 class and the 52 SUPER SERIES usher in the real heat of the Mediterranean holiday season with the third regatta of the 2016 season, Puerto Portals Sailing Week, forming a key focal point for the popular venue’s celebrations.
The TP52 Class have been coming to chic self-contained Puerto Portals since the Med Fleet’s formative year, 2005. The MedCup was hosted four times by the marina between 2005 and 2008 and 2016 is now the second time that the 52 SUPER SERIES will race out on the Bay of Palma based from Puerto Portals Marina.
While the fashionable visitors from all around the world enjoyed their Sunday lunches at the different marina restaurants today, the 52 SUPER SERIES fleet were warming up on the bay of Palma with their official practice race which allows crews a final chance to check their settings and lubricate their crew work in a race situation prior to points racing beginning Monday.
There seems set to be disappointment for the Italian team on XIO Hurakan which had their standing rigging damaged by a collision with Gladiator at the second windward mark. It seems likely that XIO will have to miss this regatta unless they can find a solution to replacing a main shroud.
Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon won the practice race, seizing on a sliver of an opportunity presented by the duelling of Quantum Racing and Azzurra in front of them.
“I don’t think we will get that chance again when we are racing for real.” Smiled Markus Wieser (GER) tactician on Platoon.
“There was a good breeze and it was a good race. We like it here. It is tricky.”
“Quantum Racing are beatable. We can beat them three races in ten.” Wieser continues. “They have seven years more experience in the class and that tells. They are so good. They were here in one form in 2005 when the class came here first and we really only started as a team last year, so they have that advantage. They have a lot of experience, they are strong, fast and confident. And they minimise their mistakes.”
“We have stiffened our mast since Puerto Cervo and have done a lot of boat work since Porto Cervo and so we hope we are a little bit faster.”
On the overall 52 SUPER SERIES standings there are three boats locked closely on points between second and fourth, and a second group chasing between fifth and ninth. The mid fleets battles are more intense than ever. Michele Ivaldi and the team on Bronenosec are looking to get their campaign back on track, lying eighth – a disappointment after being quick and smart in their debut year when they finished fifth overall, only four points off the third step on the podium:
“We are going back to basics. We had a steep learning curve last year and did well. But every team reaches their level, has a little dip and then you have to bounce back to a new level. That is where we are. The reality is that the level between third and ninth places there is just nothing in it. There are eight points in it. One mistake in one race and you can go from third to eighth.
We are going to stick to our routine. We will just do what we did here last year when we only lost out on the podium in the last race.
I think the whole fleet is very, very close in terms of speed. There are a couple of boats which are fast upwind and a couple which are very fast downwind. I think Quantum are really fast upwind and Rán are really fast downwind.
Both ourselves and Azzurra started last season very fast. We are out of the same mould and have the same package more or less. We both went well at the start. And since then everyone has caught up. Azzurra gave us the whole package at the start of the season and we were fast out of the blocks. Now everyone is so close. If you test for ten minutes there is less than one or two lengths in it. One length can make the difference between third and ninth at the top mark.”
And this needs to be a turnaround regatta too for the Sled team who were third overall last year, lie seventh overall on the season standings and were a lowly tenth in Porto Cervo at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche.
Uncompromising coach Rod Davis points out:
“Last year the Sled boys just had a blinding start and from there on in it was hanging in there to the end. This year the first regatta was good, the second was shocking and so right now we are starting to get some stability into the programme. We are focusing on starting – like everybody else – we have made some nice gains with our sails – as of the last two weeks. We have changed our rig tensions. We have been lacking the high mode off the start line, not able to ‘hang’. We have been dribbling away a little and that then escalates to bigger losses. So we are not looking to go out and hit this regatta clean away, we are just looking to get back on track. We are looking for a top five finish here.
We are looking to not repeat what happened in Porto Cervo. We had three fouls, we were OCS in a race. Even then we were just ten points off third place. But let’s face it. Everyone has a story like that! We left way too many points on the table. But that reflects the level in this fleet. Anyone who watches a start sees all the boats hitting the line on the gun. That’s the quality of the fleet. If you are on back foot at all it is a long regatta for you.”
Racing at the 52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week starts Monday at 1300hrs CEST. Tune in to watch the first race at www.52SUPERSERIES.com/LIVE.
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